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Richard Strauss: Enoch Arden
     

Richard Strauss: Enoch Arden

by Patrick Stewart
 
The melodrama, a genre in which a spoken text is declaimed over a musical accompaniment, was a popular form in the nineteenth century, but it failed to thrive in the twentieth. While performances of Strauss' 1897 setting of Tennyson's narrative poem "Enoch Arden" remain rare, it has aged well, and performances as fine

Overview

The melodrama, a genre in which a spoken text is declaimed over a musical accompaniment, was a popular form in the nineteenth century, but it failed to thrive in the twentieth. While performances of Strauss' 1897 setting of Tennyson's narrative poem "Enoch Arden" remain rare, it has aged well, and performances as fine as this are a testimony to its viability and its continuing ability to move the listener. Tennyson tells an achingly poignant story of three children, the two boys both growing to adulthood in love with the young woman, with delicacy and restraint. Strauss matches the story with a reserved but expressive piano accompaniment that supports and never overwhelms the narrative. Emanuel Ax plays with grace and deep feeling, but the focus falls on Patrick Stewart's brilliant and powerful performance. His subtle and nuanced telling is far more effective than an overtly impassioned one would have been, and the naturalness of his reading is hugely compelling and moving. Ax closes the album with two short piano pieces that Strauss wrote when he was still in his teens; they serve as a moving and cathartic epilogue to the melodrama. This extraordinary performance of "Enoch Arden" should be of strong interest to anyone intrigued by the mystery of the relationship between music and poetry.

Editorial Reviews

Daily Telegraph - Matthew Rye
Emanuel Ax treats [the music] sympathetically, but the real reason to acquire this disc is Patrick Stewart's intensely moving reading of the poem, which could stand on its own.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/28/2007
Label:
Sony Classics
UPC:
0886970905626
catalogNumber:
709056

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